Trans Siberian in February...
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Feb 6, 2012 8:57 PM Last Post By: darju
Dec 9, 2011 11:08 PM
Dec 10, 2011 4:21 AM
1What do you think you would miss?
Actually I love travel in Russia in February and early March. The weather is predictable - cold, clear, occasional snow. There are winter activities that you can participate in such as ice fishing, sleigh rides, dog sledding, cross country skiing, etc. The crowds are few so you shouldn't expect to meet too many other travelers (one time in was in Petersburg at a hostel and my husband and I were the only guests). Note that the daylight is pretty reasonable as March 21 it is equal day and night.
What you miss are the mosquitoes, flies, and crowds.
You do need to dress appropriately, hat, scarf, gloves, warm socks, waterproof footwear. Also expect to be overheated when indoors or to find it drafty and cold.
You might find this Nov 2011 article from the New York Times reassuring/interesting: Moscow in the snow
Dec 10, 2011 7:56 AM
2Russia doesn't just shut down because the weather becomes cold, I happen to agree with Ruth on this one and think the best time to see Russia is in winter.
Not knowing where your from makes it a little difficult to try to put it into perspective, but generally speaking the Siberian part of your trip will be I think the type of extreme cold your thinking of with averages of -20 but potentially much, much colder. Its the wind that really bites.
By the time you get to Moscow where it will typically be around -10 maybe even warmer.
Its more about how you will cope with the cold weather rather than the Russian people, for them life just goes on as usual.
Dec 10, 2011 10:00 AM
I'll be doing the trip from Hong Kong to St Petersburg, starting in January. I have specifically booked the trip during this period because i want to see Siberia in the winter not to mention the benefis of low-season prices and crowds.
As long as you are well prepared with your choice of clothing and footwear then you will be fine. The trains are supposedly warm/hot, so you will get respite from the conditions.
As i will most likely be ahead of you when traveling, feel free to message me for information.
Dec 10, 2011 2:53 PM
Dec 11, 2011 1:58 AM
5I like to travel both in summer and winter.
two very significant differences is:
-With a temperature of -15 and bellow with a wind that bites, you can probably forget about day long excursions enjoying the out doors. You will feel that the cold starts to get uncomfortable after, say, 30 minutes and after 2 hours you will be desperate to get indoors even with proper clothing. This means that your action radius will be limited to places you can get by warm transportation and can get indoors every 30-45 minutes (alternatively a warm car that waits for you).
-Just a a result of the weather gets rainy or the temperature goes below about +10, you can no longer plan for enjoying a meal, a bottle of wine or enjoy reading a book in the sun.
This limitations is absolutely no problem for a city holiday or if you plan to spend most of the time in the train. If you expect to spend a ot of time outdoors, the scenery can be spectacular, but you must be prepared to wait for a week while the cold, wind and/or snow to stop before you can go for an excursion that you want to take.
Anyway, good luck!
Edited by: jaoto
Dec 11, 2011 5:24 AM
6Everbrite - I took the information from 'the man in seat sixty one website' regarding lower fares.
"Russian fares vary by season. Higher fares are charged at Easter, New Year, July & August, lower fares in January & February. Higher fares are charged for the fast high-quality 'firmeny' trains, lower fares for slower unnamed low-quality trains"
Dec 11, 2011 4:05 PM
Dec 12, 2011 8:59 AM
8I just wish this winter would hurry up and get started!
I'm sure it will be nice and frosty in the middle, but its shaping up as a mild winter in Moscow and the West of the country.
Dec 17, 2011 10:20 AM
Jan 9, 2012 9:40 PM
If you want to board the trans manchurian or trans mongolian you can't buy a ticket from the russian national railways site or at the train stations. The system is setup so that you can only buy from agents and their markup is hefty.
I was on the east bound transmanchurian in July last year , peak season and it was only 30 to 40% full when we left Moscow increasing to maybe 60% full as the journey progressed.
I paid just £450 to £500, can't recall exactly.
So even though the train wasn't full the price didn't drop much from advertised rates and I shopped around and negotiated.
If you make the trip can you report back what price got and what agency you used.
You can buy cheaper tickets for individual "local" trains running along the same route but its not the traditional "trans siberian " experience on one dedicated train for the duration of the journey. These are the trains the man in seat 61 is referring to.
Jan 10, 2012 1:02 AM
I have not checked the weather in Siberia myself but I understand that it has been pretty mild there too. Moscow set a new record high temp of plus 4.1 degress centigrade on December 28th (might have been 27th?), and is forecast to hit plus 1 degree again on Friday after a spell of rain late last week where it was around plus 2 for several days.
I would say that is pretty mild.
Jan 12, 2012 1:33 PM
Feb 6, 2012 4:58 AM
Just got back from my trip, finished in Tallinn after starting in Hong Kong. I had always planned to split the journey up rather than take the train from Beijing straight to Moscow. Between Beijing and Moscow i stopped at Erlian for my Mongolian visa, Ulan Bator and Irkutsk for lake baikal. I did not use an agency for any of my train tickets although as i was travelling in China in the build up to their new years festival it was difficult to get near the train station let alone purchase any tickets that might still have been available so i contemplated using an agency but didn't need to in the end.
These are the trains and the prices i paid for trains between Beijing and Moscow:
Beijing to Erlian - #K23 - 142 Yuan
Crossed border to Zamyn Uud by jeep
Zamyn Uud to Ulan Bator - #275 - 27300 Mnt
Ulan Bator to Irkutsk - #263 - 79450 Mnt
Irkutsk to Moscow - #001 - 11722 Rubles (2nd class)
Moscow to St Petersburg - #064 - 1377 Rubles (3rd class)
Feb 6, 2012 6:25 AM
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